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A Day to Remember

April 28 is a special day. It's my first love's birthday and my mother-in-law's birthday.

That's how I always remembered this day beginning in 1978 when I felt my heart carve a place for a boy in middle school who wore a Derby jacket, corduroy pants, white tank tops, and carried a black comb in his back pocket for his perfect, dark feathered hair. He became my first kiss, dance partner, and understanding of the movie Endless Love when his parents tore him away to another state. Luckily, we are still friends, and I could not be prouder of him, his family, and the life he created.

In 1996, my mother-in-law entered my orbit and treated me like I was her own. She has blessed me with fortunes I would never have had without her love, generosity, and kindness. I will never be able to thank her enough for being her.

In 2018, another special meaning was added to this magical date. It became my official artist anniversary. It was the day I risked letting my soul be extracted from my chest and hung on a gallery wall under a bright light for all to examine, see, and judge—but in a good way! It's a day I never thought would or could happen.

This memory may not have happened if it hadn't been for someone close to me who listened when I told him I felt like a fraud and lacked the confidence and courage to go to my first art show opening accepting a piece of my work. 

Not only did he listen, but he told me, "Walk in like you own the place." That phrase went over and over in my mind like a mantra as I stood at the threshold of my dream life, my husband and son at my side, encouraging me like my own handsome, private cheerleaders. With a deep breath, I crossed into a world I fantasized about living in—a world where I could stand amongst talented people and see beauty covering the walls. A place where I could be ejected from reality and time. 

I sold my first piece of art that day—to an artist! I saw the orange sticker on the title tag before leaving the building, which was the most surreal sensation. I go back to that moment often when I'm discouraged and want to stop trying—trying to get in a show, sell a print, or get on a book cover or in a magazine.  Or when secretly in need of a … "I like that. You're good enough to be in our community" and see a smile light up someone's face because of my picture or words.

Fast forward to today, April 28, 2024, and I realize I committed to this life six years ago, and it's become a habit I can't and won't break. No matter how much I torture myself in the process. ( Only once in a while) Now, I understand the stereo-typical nature people place on creatives.

A year and five months after my first art show, when my good friend/family member told me to walk in there, he left this world and is now somewhere having a different adventure. Yet, I still hear him whisper his advice to me when I step into an art opening or anywhere else; I digress back to hearing my voice tell me I don't belong.

And because of his passing and my grief, I fulfilled a goal I didn't know I had. I wrote When Then Became Now and became an author…

As I reflect on my journey, I am reminded of George Eliot's quote, 'It is never too late to be what you might have been.' These words resonate with me, encapsulating the spirit of my transformation and the belief that it's never too late to pursue your dreams.

These words and my life show it's possible. Your dream is possible, and you're not alone when you're in doubt. <3

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